The American Indian Horse Registry

Category: Spotlight (Page 3 of 4)

Origin stories about Indian Horses we love.

Spotlight: Blazing Guns

Alicia Sims and her friend, Blaze.

My Dream Horse – Blazing Guns

I guess this story starts with trying to find my dream horse… the horse I have always wanted. My husband and I had already been very impressed with the Colonial Spanish Horses, so much so that we sold all but one of our Arabians, so I knew the first logical step was to visit Karma Farms and find the horse of my dreams.

I spoke to Vickie Ives about coming out and meeting the colts and we set up an appointment. I was so very excited that I could barely contain myself. I knew just what I wanted… Rowdy Yates (hahaha), BUT since that would not happen and I knew it, I set my mind to go out and find a friendly, but flashy colt with impeccable conformation and Rowdy Yates in his pedigree. (I didn’t want much… just perfection.) Oh and to make my task greater, I needed all of these things in a colt that no one would get mad if I gelded, because I have never had any intention of owning a stallion. The day rolled around and it was finally time to go out and meet the colts. It didn’t take long to see that the choice was not going to be an easy one. Jack Sparrow… I was in love with him, but knew he would need to remain a stallion so that knocked him right off the list. Hey Jude was a definite cutie, but was standoffish and very small for such a heavy person. Blazing Guns… he was a sweet boy and surely made you think twice about him because he was sooo sweet and longed for the attention, but I knew the chance of him being gaited was high (I knew nothing about gaited horses),  and he just wasn’t flashy… actually he was at that adolescent age, every horse goes through it… you know the “ugly duckling” stage….

Then I found him. My perfect colt – Stray Cat Strut, very flashy, great conformation and YEP…. Rowdy’s son! I was enamored with this colt. He was everything I wanted!!! Yeah he was pushy and not very good with people, but I could overcome that, I thought. We did really well, Strutter was coming along nicely with one big hitch… he only liked me. He didn’t like for anyone else to mess with him or to even come into his pen. Well, being a mother of 3 girls, it didn’t take long before I was calling Vik for advice. Even before making the call I knew that the right thing for a mom with a family was to have a FAMILY horse and I was being selfish by keeping a colt that they couldn’t work with too. After talking to Vik, the decision was made to take Strutter back and get a different colt. I was Heartbroken…

We got to Karma Farms to drop Strutter off and I was just going to go back home and think on things for a while, but my husband wanted me to decide that day to avoid another long trip over there. I walked through the pastures again and well… no one else was Strutter. I just didn’t want another colt, I wanted him. To make matters worse I felt like the worst mom EVER for being so selfish. I decided that I was going to choose between Unwritten and Dr.Pepper, both VERY Nice colts and I knew it but neither one related to Rowdy. As I was trying to decide I had an idea… My husband loved Blazing Guns, so I would just choose him and he could be Rick’s horse. Locomotion was my second favorite stallion at Karma and this was his son, the temperament on him left no doubt. I went out and caught him and brought him up and even after not being handled much in a good while he was friendly to everyone in my family. Yep, that was the responsible choice.

We brought Blaze home and though I swore he was Rick’s horse, Rick said he wouldn’t even touch him until I at least tried to get to know him. I didn’t even want to. I was being selfish and unfair to this poor colt and I knew it but I still had a hole in my heart where my dream colt had been. A funny thing happened, Blaze cut his lip… kinda bad and it had to be cleaned doctored regularly. He wouldn’t let anyone but me clean it or doctor it. He would let anyone in the family lead him or work with him, but he wouldn’t let them near that injury… so I was stuck with the responsibility. It was a very good thing. He relied on me and though I didn’t want another horse to fill that hole, I needed one. Things began changing slowly from that point on, he would work for everyone, but would work just a hair bit better for me. Time for another milestone came and it was time to start giving his feet. It took a long time even for me to get him to give his feet, but then he would give them to me and no one else. I was exasperated with this colt, but secretly a little proud that he would do things for me that he wouldn’t do for anyone else. He made me feel special. Blaze grew on me more and more over the next few months and I told my husband that I thought I might just keep this one after all, because though he was not what I wanted, he was what I needed. I worked with him daily to hopefully make him into the horse that I needed him to be. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was growing closer to him all the while, and one day I realized that I did finally Love this horse. He was patient with me when I needed it and pushed me when I needed that.

One day in late August, I had a most terrible morning. It was the day that we put our dear old Arabian mare Badancja down. She was suffering from degenerative joint disease and could barely walk. I took her out and loved on her for the last time and said goodbye. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and one of the worst days I have had in a while. I left there, stopping several times on the way home to cry. I just wanted to go bury myself in the covers and hide for the rest of the day, but I had to stop by and feed Blaze first. I got there to feed him and, as usual, he had thrown his feed bucket out into the middle of the pen. I let out a heavy sigh and went out into the pen to get the bucket. “Couldn’t he make things easy, just this once”, I thought. While I was out there he began to nudge me in the back, he frequently does this if I am not paying attention to him. I was not in the mood so I just ignored him. He pushed again and something hit me in the back. I turned to find Blaze standing there with a very sad look in his eye and holding his halter and lead rope in his mouth. “Ok, ok”, I thought, “I know you need some exercise.” So I wrapped my arm under that big head of his to put on the halter and I felt the full weight of his head on my shoulder. I just started crying uncontrollably I couldn’t hold it in any more. All the while I sobbed he nickered softly to me. I just buried my face in that thick mustang mane and cried some more. When I was finally able to stop crying, I gave that horse the biggest hug I ever had. We put on his halter and the longe line and worked for a bit. I knew that I loved Blaze before that day, but that was the day that I figured out I couldn’t live without him.

A few months now have passed since that day and it seems as if my love for that horse has grown by leaps and bounds each day since then. He is my pride and joy… my heart. Funny enough… during all that time he was growing up into quite a handsome horse. I look at him now and can’t imagine how I ever passed him up that first day, or how I could have been so in love with a horse I barely knew, when it took me so long to love Blaze. Then one day I realized that, though I did love Strutter (and still do), I wasn’t heartbroken over that horse, but over the idea of losing my dream horse. Funny thing, that… the idea of a dream horse. I know all people have it, until they find their Actual dream horse or it finds them. I have since found out from talking to more experienced friends that often your dream horse looks nothing like you ever thought it would on the outside, but inside has the heart you can’t live without! I guess it is part of growing up, really, though you would think that by now I would surely have done all the growing up I needed to.

That is the story of how my dream horse found me!


Alicia K. Sims

Lothlórien Farm
Proudly raising, showing and producing Americas First Horse!
http://www.lothlorienmustangs.webs.com/


Spotlight: Annie

Victoria and her girl, Annie

Aleshanee – AKA Wild Annie

When I was a little girl some fifty years ago, I dreamed of horses. I wanted a horse of my own. I read every horse book there was on the library shelf, and my ultimate dream was to have a wild horse like the black stallion that would be gentle for me. I dreamed of going to Chincoteague and getting a wild pony there. Wild horses were romantic beings of books and dreams and inaccessible to girls such as I. After years of dreaming, I gave up and sought other more attainable dreams.

However, when I retired from thirty one years of teaching, I returned yet again to that old dream, somewhat modified, as I knew I’d never find a wild horse nor would I ever be like the boy in THE BLACK STALLION. I joined the United States Equine Rescue League in an effort to just be near horses in general, though I admit, I never thought even then that they’d let me near a horse. I imagined I’d be handing out brochures, and maybe if I was lucky, they’d let me rub an occasional head. Immediately, I found myself mucking stalls, hauling water, going under houses to cut on the water, picking feet, and doing other things that I never imagined I’d ever do with or without horses. Then I got the call. Did I want to see some wild horses? The USERL had taken in eleven wild mustang mares and foals, and they were nearby. To say I was excited was an understatement. When I arrived at the South Anna barn, I thought those mares were the most beautiful creatures ever—-especially one, a little bay roan. I had never seen a bay roan before, and I remember asking, “What kind of horse is that?” Since my husband and I were so close to the barn, and I imagine that, because these horses were wild and most thought unapproachable, I was asked if I wanted to be barn manager. Oh yes! This was it. I fell in love yet again. The little bay roan was curious about me as I was her. I named her Wild Annie, in honor of Wild Horse Annie who had been a mustang savior in her time. I named all the others as well. I spent lots of time studying them in person and reading everything I could get my hands on about them. Though Annie had been handled when she was young—I knew this because she came in with a too small halter—she was still a wild thing. In a couple of weeks after their arrival, I was grooming Annie out in the pasture. I took off that too small halter, and left her halterless for several months.

A few months went by, and I started thinking hard about Annie. I did not want to see her go anywhere, and I started saying I was going to foster her. I didn’t really have a clue of what I was doing with her, but reading Monty Robert’s books helped. I didn’t have to join up with her early on as she was joined up with me. I started asking for outside help with her, and someone told me to get a halter on her. So, in February, three months after her arrival, I stood out in the rain with her, and talked her into the halter. I really think she let me put it on her to get me to shut up, but from the beginning, Annie has grown used to my constant chatter and singing to her. I was proud of that moment. But then, I really started getting serious about training her. I continued to read, read, and read some more. That summer, I started working on picking up her feet and fly spray. I had a long cane, kind of like a shepherd’s staff from my drama teaching days. I used it to pick up her feet. I tried constantly to pick them up with my hands when I found she wouldn’t kick me, but I could not get them up. She tricked me into believing I was hurting her when she would fall on her knees, and she trained me well to put her feet down quickly. Then one kind soul came and saw it for the ruse it was, and told me about Annie’s trick. So the next time, I picked it up and I did not let go. Every single time, though since I first started picking her feet up, I always asked her nicely. When some of my reading said to “ask your horse,” I took it literally, and I’ve been asking ever since. It took awhile, but Annie picks her feet up at my request and the softest touch.

Spraying Annie with the hose and fly spray was another issue that Annie had to overcome. She didn’t like the sound of spraying. Now, she stands for both, and she seems to especially like baths.

All while I worked on ground work, I dreamed of someday riding her. I didn’t know how this was going to be accomplished though. I talked to some knowledgeable folks around here, and most suggested I was crazy to even think about it. After all, I was over fifty five, on Actonel for osteopenia, and I didn’t know how to ride. One person even suggested that I give Annie up, and get a safe horse on which to learn. She just didn’t understand though that riding was not a priority with me for Annie—it would be enrichment. I took a few lessons, which really didn’t go that well for me. Instead of making me more confident, it made me embarrassed. I suffer from a real case of fear of failure anyway, and since I failed right from the start of getting on the horse, I didn’t want to do it at all. I couldn’t make up my mind….did I want to ride, or did I not? Last fall, I took Natural Horsemanship classes, which helped boost my confidence a little. By then, Annie was letting me sit on her back. The first time I got on her back, she never did anything. So then, I got really brave….and stupid. I went out in the round pen with my helmet. My husband and daughter were both inside the barn. I attempted to mount Annie by myself bareback. This resulted in my squeezing when I sat up. Annie took off one way, and I took off the other. That hurt, but I was not hurt.

Meanwhile, I continued working with Annie on groundwork. She had all kinds of trailer issues and one bad experience. Annie is a very forgiving horse though, which is a good thing with me being her owner. This past spring, I again did something by myself on Annie, which resulted in another fall. This time, I tried to dismount by myself. I missed my step and ended up on my butt at her feet. The third time, I ended up at her feet when the saddle slipped, Annie just looked at me as if she was saying, “Oh, I see you like lying at my feet.” After that last fall, what little confidence I had in myself went right out the window. I refused to get back on Annie. I was not afraid of her; I was afraid of saddles. I can relate to a prey animal that is afraid of everything because I seem to be one too.

Then Wendy came along with her nine horses and plenty of encouragement. Every time she’d come to the barn, she’d ask if I was going to get on Annie, but I always had a reason why I couldn’t. She encouraged me to get on her trained horse, Chica. I was hesitant about that too until my husband Dennis got on her and rode her around the paddock. Several days after my fall, I wore my boots to the barn. Again, Wendy asked if I wanted to ride Chica. I told her I would, but only on a lead line. I was totally afraid, and I hated being that way. I did it again a couple times and switched to an English saddle. However, I continued to be afraid to get on Annie.

Steve Edwards, the author of AND A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM and one of the leaders of the movement to save mustangs—especially those on the east coast started having his Friday programs. These programs are geared to the young and the young at heart, and I asked him about bringing Annie. He agreed, so the first Friday we went down, and Steve and his little riders began working with Annie. I am so impressed with their work down there. Steve is easy going and does much to build one’s confidence. Since I had been working with Annie myself, he said he expected to take her into the woods the next week. But the next week, he was called into the office and could not have the program. Meanwhile, I had found a saddle that fit Annie nicely and that even I could put on her. So, that Friday, I decided I was going to sit in her saddle. I did it, but I was so disappointed in myself. I was terrified. “Now what?” I thought. I was simply on a lead line, but my husband put the line down for a second to get the camera, and I nearly freaked out, which of course made Annie nervous. I was so mad at myself because I knew I was doing everything I was not supposed to do. That night, I did not sleep well thinking about it, and the next day, I got up determined to get on her again.

Saturday morning, we went over to feed, and I put Annie’s bridle on, and got up in the saddle. It’s fortunate for me that we have things to use as mounting blocks as though Annie is a little horse, I cannot get my knees to cooperate from the ground. Oh well. At that time, mounting wasn’t my concern; staying in the saddle was. The ground was wet, and Annie was having a tough time of it, but we managed to move a little bit around the paddock. Dennis even took short little clips of it, and I was proud of myself for getting on her. If I had just sat there, I would have been happy, but after fifteen minutes, I’d had enough.

Thanks Victoria for sharing Annie's story.

The next Friday arrived. In the morning, Steve and the little riders worked on Annie some more. She was doing better, and I was excited about her going on the trail ride. I had no idea who would be riding her, but I just knew it couldn’t be me. After all, I didn’t even know how to ride. I wasn’t sure what Steve was planning on doing with me, but I imagined one of his riders might work with me in the round pen while they were out riding. Then two of his riders asked who would be riding Annie, and Steve said, “Guess?” They guessed, and their third guess was me! Steve said, “Well, it is HER horse.” I managed to stay pretty calm, but inside I was jello. How was I going to get up on her back? What if she threw me off, or even worse, what if I just fell off? Suppose I couldn’t get her saddle on her tight enough? I had my helmet and I had my rib protectors, and I hoped they would be my insurance that I would remain alive. To top it off, I didn’t know how Annie would behave with the other horses. Past experiences suggested that she did not get along well with geldings, and I didn’t know who was going to be on this trail ride. Steve told me to tack her up in the round pen and walk her to the pasture outside the tack shed. On our way, we had to walk over “Lido’s Bridge.” Lido was Steve’s little brother from whom I’ve gained motivation. I never met Lido except in Steve’s book, and in fact, the first time I met Steve, I told him that I wanted to meet him. That is when I found out that Lido had passed away the December before. That saddened me almost as much as if I knew him because I felt like I did. One of Lido’s sayings attributed to him is “If I can do it, why not you?” That is what propelled us over that bridge. When I saw it, I figured Annie wouldn’t walk over it, but with only a little hesitation, she did. On our return, there was no hesitation at all. I started thinking that maybe we would be okay on this little ride after all. We got to the pasture and waited while the others tacked up their horses. I had Annie’s new bridle which she had only had on one time for pictures, but Annie put her head down, and let me put her bridle on right out there in the pasture with no one helping. Another hurdle was crossed.

Finally, Steve said, “Mount up!” I was delighted to see a mounting block, and that a few others were using it too. So I managed to mount Annie. Of course, the first thing I did was wrong, and I knew it too. Fortunately, Jacob, one of Steve’s handsome riders and I swear a future model for a cowboy magazine, came over and said, “Um Ma’m, don’t pull on the reins and kick her at the same time.” I was confusing poor Annie so badly. Jacob led us behind Steve, and miracles happened. Annie followed Steve and his gelding Holland. We were on our way, Annie following along as if she’d done this all her life. I felt like a passenger with an invisible lead line with Steve coaching and coaxing right in front. When I saw the log lying on the trail, I’m sure everyone could hear my heart beating loudly all the way down to the last person in line, but Annie stepped over it daintily. On our way back, I was calming down until Annie spied the stallions in the back pasture. Steve said, “If I say dismount, get off quickly.” I knew that was going to be a problem because I’d been having dismounting problems lately. Annie managed to contain herself, but I worried the last length home because all I could think about was dismounting quickly and gracefully. When he finally did say “dismount,” all that worry about dismounting gracefully was for naught. I dismounted like a bear waking from hibernation, but I did manage to get my feet back on the ground. I was in disbelief that Annie and I had done it. Annie had put up with me pulling the reins up to the sky every time I thought she was going to speed up. She had contained all of the energy that must have been passing to her from me and never showed anything but gentleness toward me.

That may explain why when we were back in Steve’s yard, and I was standing with Annie on the lead line that I stood there feeling like I was going to burst into tears for what I cannot explain – joy, disbelief, excitement? At the same time, Annie who had been grazing beside me quietly, jerked her head up, started prancing around, and then reared beautifully as if to say, “You may have ridden me today, but I am still a wild mustang.” “Yes, you are Annie, and my ultimate little girl dream. “

Spotlight: Ty

Thunder’s Black Tie Affair “Ty” by Ricki Sims

I haven’t always had horses, but I have always longed for them ever since I was a little girl. I hungered for the great luxury of owning my own horse. I was so jealous inside of those children that were so privileged as to own these wonderful giants. I still remember when my father and I would go on trips to drop off cattle for his job at rodeos and ranches all across the state of Texas and sometimes even farther than that. Almost every time we would pass a horse or some horses in the big truck my dad would get my attention, just to point out of the window and show me and no matter where the horses were, whether in a wide open pasture grazing or locked in a paddock. I always asked “When can I ride it”, those famous words that almost every six year old girl utters and yet the answers were always “No” or “Not now”.

This all changed one day when we went to a rodeo to drop off some cattle and I met a young barrel racer girl who let me ride her old horse. I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was the biggest and most beautiful creature I had ever laid eyes on. It was an old and very, very lazy chestnut quarter horse gelding. As soon as my dad and the girl hoisted me up on top of that powerful beast, I felt great freedom. I had a feeling so strong that it could drown the whole ocean. THIS was the thing I loved doing. As the girl led me around atop that horse, I was closing my eyes, letting go and putting my arms out like I was flying. I had not a single ounce of fear seeping through my body and was finally living my lifelong dream. As the girl watched how excited I was atop her old gelding, she couldn’t help but laugh. I now know why. It’s because sometimes people who have grown up with horses all of their life don’t realize how special it is to people who haven’t and they couldn’t even begin to count the number of little kids all around the world that envy them so much. Years later, however, my dad got a new job and it’s sad to say but I kind of just grew out of horses. I thought of it as an impossible dream that everybody has in their childhood.

Well about two years later we moved to East Texas and this is where my fallen dream comes true. Of course I was very excited when I heard that we had gotten a two year old filly, but something inside of me had changed since that day with the old chestnut gelding. Instead of feeling confidence, I felt fear and I didn’t even know why. I hated that I was too scared to even touch the horse, so I prayed to God every night and one day I woke up and finally no longer feared the animal. I was in 4-H and was learning everything there was to know about horses, yet I only lacked the experience.

A few months later we got a new older mare named Shadow. She was a black Missouri Fox Trotter and she taught me how to ride. I kept on growing in the knowledge of horses, but this mare had foundered so I never got anything above a trot on her. Meanwhile my family kept on getting new horses and selling old horses trying to find the right breed and herd for us. Soon I asked my parents If I could save my own money and buy my own horse. They laughed and said “Sure. If you pay for it you can have your very own horse”. I don’t think they believed that I would.

Well I did it! A man by the name of Bobby Weaver, the man who had originally Siouxsie, had three new foals. He sent pictures of each one; there was a blue roan, a strawberry roan, and a black and white paint. Well I wanted the black and white paint colt. We told him and I waited for him to be weaned. Then all of the sudden I lost contact with this man. So being the impatient little girl that I was, I gave up on that colt and decided on a mare from a different ranch. This happened to be one of the worst decisions I had ever made. This mare was ten years old and had very little experience and so did I. She also was a fireball and loved to buck my dad off! So right there I lost ALL of my confidence with horses.

I guess it was fate, because not too long after that my mom and Bobby Weaver started talking again and we ended up buying that little paint colt after all. My mom saw that I was scared to be on horses, so she urged me to work with Ty for her since I didn’t seem to be afraid of him. That is when I learned for some reason I wasn’t scared to work them on the ground no matter how rank they were, so she decided to geld this colt and let me show him and train him for her. I didn’t know it at the time, but this colt named Thunder’s Black Tie Affair (Ty) was really growing on me.

I worked with this colt every day and every time I had a chance. I got him bomb proof and he was a really sound colt. Well at first I never planned on taking him to the District horse show for 4-H but my mom really pushed me to and in the end I did. We competed in the only two events we could, which were the longe-line and halter class futurities. I was mighty surprised when I took first place in longe-line and second in halter, so with that I decided to go to State since I qualified. He did wonderful in every warm up we had, but as every horse person knows, horses are unpredictable and well, he froze up in the arena when it was our time to show. Although we didn’t place at State, I knew he could do it and that’s what mattered, that and I had trained him all on my own.

The next year rolled around faster than a bowling ball going down a steep hill and now it was time to break Ty. Well here was my weakness and I was still scared to ride horses, so I was just going to sit this year out. Well with all of the pushing my parents did in trying to get me to break him it never worked until my mom offered me Fifty Dollars to train him and show him for her at the District Show. (I have a sneaky mom.) I finally got on him and with my luck he spooked and ran and I found the dirt. However, no one was hurt and for some reason I got up and said I would ride him in the district show, but there’s no way I was doing the state show. We did extensive training since we got such a late start. Three one hour sessions a day, Every day and we got so good that we were tuff competition. I fell in love with Ty for helping me and I don’t think he even knows how much he helped me still to this day. Anyway, we got to the District 5 horse show and he had tuff competition and it was obvious that I was the only kid to train their own horse, but I didn’t let that get me down. I went into the arena and did the best I could and took second place! I was so very excited that I told my mom to forget what I had said before about not wanting to go to state and a month later we were on our way to the state competition once again.

This was a much bigger competition with lots of horses and competitors, but I just went for fun and experience. I put forth my best in the ring and didn’t expect to be what the judge wanted, but knew that Ty was what I wanted. My mom had been telling me that even if I never placed, I had already won because I wasn’t scared anymore, but deep down I wanted to win. So you can imagine the big smile on my face as I rode out of the ring with my purple ribbon for seventh place overall. After all of this, walking back to the stall, I jokingly said to my mom “Man I wish he was all mine” and to my surprise she smiled and said “Well I’ve been waiting for you to admit it, and he’s always been yours, honey”. I was astonished and leaped for joy.

He is still proving himself to me every time we show. We just got back from the AIHR National Show and we won Reserve National Champions. One of the good things about Ty is he never lets it get to his head that he is a champion. I can still use him to let little kids ride and even the Special Olympics kids can ride Ty. I really like to let people that don’t have horses ride, because I still remember my ride on that girls gelding that day and Ty loves it, too.

He is a really great horse and still to this day I don’t think anybody quite understands Ty like me and I don’t think anybody understands me quite like Ty. He continues to prove his skills in every show we go to and even on his bad days we can work well together. I love him and he has given me something that no other horse has and with that I’m no longer afraid to hop on a horse that is acting up or just to see what it knows. Thank You Ty! I love you and I’m proud to have you in my life!

Spotlight: Angel

My brother, Scott, was the first to meet Angel on the high plains of Northeastern Wyoming in late May of 2004. If not for their first encounter, I would have missed out on the joy and pleasure of knowing her today. Scott and my parents were on their dream vacation visiting the Cayuse Ranch and getting to know Emmett and Josie Brislawn. The Brislawn family is dedicated to preserving Spanish Mustangs, also known as the Original Indian Horse. During this trip they were able to traverse the Cayuse Ranch land and were tossing out alfalfa cubes from back of Emmett’s truck, taking in the sight of free roaming Spanish Mustang herds. Not really intending to purchase a horse, they fell in love with Angel. Who could blame them. Angel was only a few days old and came right up to Scott putting her head in his hands. He was taken by her big angel eyes and curious spirit. She was the only filly brave enough to be touched and her one blue eye was captivating. They did not see her again until almost a year later when she was shipped all the way from Wyoming to her new home in Texas.

Angel and Kelly

Angel had almost a whole year of running free in the grasslands of Wyoming so when she arrived home she stayed in a round pen while adjusting to Texas and meeting her new pasture mates. I’m sure it was a world of change for her, running free in the wide open range and then the confinement of a pen. It took my parents a week to get the halter off that had come with her, but they spent everyday in their lawn chairs just hanging out with her for hours at a time in the round pen. She soon warmed up to my family and to life as a Texas gal. She so enjoyed being scratched and loved on, and my dad knew just where to scratch her. They spent a great deal of time loving on her, getting her to accept handling and the human touch.

Now I was hoping to borrow a mare from my family to be a companion for Sunny (Sundance Kid) as they had three mares at the time who all needed training. So I also offered to provide some training for the mare I borrowed. They said pick and of course I could not resist those angel eyes. She was almost three when returning home with me. She turned out to be a great companion for Sunny, they are like two peas in a pod. She was also a joy to train under saddle, everything came so easy for her. I really took my time with her, as this was only the second horse for me to train. I had no round pen or arena for this task either. She started on the lunge line, ponying, driving, and then I was riding her. She accepted the saddle and then me with no objections. She did not have a bit in her mouth for the first year as she did great in just a side pull. She was a breeze, not because of my amazing skills (if you can’t tell I’m being sarcastic) but because of her easy nature, curiosity, fearlessness, and all the time my parents spent gentling her to human touch.

Angel is one of the most curious horses I’ve ever known. If anyone is out in the pasture doing anything she must go see what is happening and she is sure to stick her nose in it. Which is normally enjoyable, except maybe when Chris is working with a chainsaw. While Sunny is running off from the monstrous blue wheel barrow, she is chasing it down. The first time she saw a small herd of white cattle at McKinny Rough trails in the Colorado river, she was plain frustrated that I did not allow her to go swimming down the river to check them out. I did quite a bit of work desensitizing her and preparing her for trail obstacles. Needless to say this was not an overly difficult job, and she caught on fast. Not only did she make a great companion for Sunny, she was also a great companion and friend to me. My parents easily observed this connection and generously allowed this borrowed horse to become a permanent part of my life.

Angel has excelled in trail riding and obstacles. She was awarded the 2008-2009 American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA) Pleasure Division Reserve Champion, we completed a one day 20 mile novice NATRC ride, did very well in our first AIHR show in 2009, and she earned AIHR Hall of Fame in 2010. She like Sunny, has also made a great AIHR model by representing the breed in the book The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide on page 19 and page 23 (thanks Chris for capturing such fabulous images) and at the 2008 Bluebonnet Horse Expo in the parade of breeds. She continues to be my trail riding partner and is now assisting me in the exploration of as many different trails as possible for my Where The Trails Are (http://wherethetrailsare.com/) endeavor. Maybe we will see you on the trail.

Angel is double registered AIHR-O /SMR and I plan to also register with HOA. She was born on May 21st, 2004 bred by the Brislawn family. Her sir is Kid’s Reflection and dam Sirbees Navie, and my mother gave her the name Reflections Angel. Which is very fitting with her beautiful big “angel eyes”.

Again, I must thank Scott for discovering Angel and my parents for being so generous. I’m also thankful to have Angel as my equine friend.

Spotlight: Sundance Kid

Sundance Kid

In 1986 a beautiful colt was born and I was on my way to see him for the first time. I was trying hard to restrain my excitement on the trip to East Texas with my parents. They were ready to purchase an Original Indian Horse for me. I really did not think there could be another horse for me other than Apache, our AA colt who was previously lost in a tragic accident, but then I met Sunny. Sunny was nothing like Apache, they are two very different but both wonderful horses. Sunny’s dam, Penny’s Sundance and sire, the well known Choctaw Sundance, were bred by Leanna and Vickie. Born in March of 1986 just four days before I turned 14, Sunny started out as The Sun King. Unfortunately I had not yet discovered the Beatles and lacked appreciation for this name (don’t worry this issue has since been remedied). I always dreamed of having a real horse named Sundance. I played with a buckskin Breyer horse incessantly as a youngster which I called Sundance, so his name became The Sundance Kid. Since both his parents bore the name Sundance, I felt it fit.

The moment I met Sunny it was clear we were meant to be, at least that is how I saw it. Of course being an immature teenage girl I expected the “meant to be” to come easy. I was dead set on training him myself, even though I had no experience with horse training. Sunny really seemed very easy to train as far as the basics went. The first time I climbed aboard Sunny he just twisted his head around and looked back at me amused. He never gave me a hard time about it. Winning his respect was the goal I had to earn. I quickly discovered Sunny was a fast learner and I was the one teaching him some bad habits. It was not uncommon for him to out smart me. Sunny taught me a great deal. I had to work for his respect, trust, and friendship. He challenged me, and I must admit there were a few moments when I thought maybe we were not meant to be. I’m happy to say today we are best buddies and he follows me around like a love sick puppy. The work needed to bind our relationship was well worth it.

Initially Sunny’s training went easy. We had lots of time to spend together. However, heading off to college really set us back as I was in San Marcos and he was in Dallas. So I decided to take him along my second year of college. I soon realized working and going to school full time left little to no time for Sunny, even though I had him close by. Boarding cost was a problem as well. I got into one of my “maybe this is not to be” moods and I felt he really needed a person who could spend time with him. He deserved lots of attention, which at the time I was unable to give. Fortunately, the president of AIHR, Nanci Falley lived close by. Nanci could help me find a good safe home for him, as we would have it no other way.

Sure enough Nanci brought Sunny and the Scott family together and kept him at her place just down the road in Lockhart which meant I could visit him! I was also fortunate to see their son Josh Scott show Sunny at one of the AIHR annual events. Sunny looked great. I was pleased with his good home, but he was missed. As Josh grew older he also had less time for Sunny and once again Sunny was leading an idle life. I enjoyed visiting him at Nanci’s but my heart was aching to have him back, especially since I graduated and had time for him. Chris (my husband now) really encouraged me to ask for him back and had a place I could keep him. Nanci arranged for me to meet with Jesse and Ann Scott again and they generously offered him back to me for the same price he was originally sold. I was overjoyed, we were back together! We have enjoyed participating in several AIHR shows, pleasure trail riding, clinics, and just hanging out together. The Scott family visits with him at the shows and annual AIHR open house and are always welcome to come and see Sunny. Sunny has made a great AIHR model, he has represented the breed in the books 96 Horse Breeds of North America on page 38 and The Official Horse Breeds Standards Guide on page 17 and made an appearance in The American Indian Horse Registry documentary video.

Thanks for being my pal and teacher. Your buddy always, Kelly

Sunny is a striking overo dunn adobe paint with apron face, black mane and tail with auburn highlights, zebra striping on his front legs, three white stockings, a tear drop marking under his right eye, and up close you can see the outer edges of his eyes are a dark blue. As far as I’m concerned he is the most gorgeous horse ever. On top of his good looks he is a character and has taught me more about working with horses then anyone. He has an attitude that I love and respect. A smile on my face is always present when watching him throw his head and prance around like he owns the place. By the way he does own the place, and at age 24 he remains top horse in our herd hierarchy.

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